I have written to you in the past about PHHPC, the state board that advises the Department of Health on plans to enlarge or diminish hospitals. Well, the state board is meeting this Thursday, January 23rd, to consider Mount Sinai’s plans for closing the current Beth Israel and replacing it with a much smaller, new facility. Under-Mount Sinai’s plan, Beth Israel will
- lose 511 hospital beds, and
- send Lower Manhattan residents to other Mount Sinai facilities way uptown and across town to the far west side.
This is unacceptable! We need to speak out about the need to keep convenient care in lower Manhattan.
What can you do?
- Show up at the NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) meeting on Thursday, Jan.23rd, at 90 Church Street, 4th Floor, in Manhattan. The meeting starts at 10 am, and Beth Israel is the first item on the agenda. So you should arrive no later than 9:30 am to be sure to get into the main room. You will have an opportunity to speak for a maximum of 3 minutes. You may not carry signs or hand out flyers, but we are all wearing white ribbons to show our numbers and symbolize our solidarity with Saving Beth Israel. I will provide ribbons and pins.
Just your presence tells the board a lot!
- Send in written comments to the NYS DOH by Tuesday, January 21. Address them to Colleen Leonard, Executive Secretary, Public Health and Health Planning Council at Colleen.Leonard@health.ny.gov and Lisa.Thomson@health.ny.gov .
What can you say? Here are some possible talking points:
- Loss of Convenient Access to Health Care for Lower Manhattan residents
- Mount Sinai is proposing to downsize Beth Israel from 696 beds to just 70 beds at the new hospital and 115 beds in a new behavioral health center in the former Rivington House. That’s a loss of 511 hospital beds from our community!
- This plan sends people all over the city for care that we have been able to access in our own neighborhood. They say they will transfer patients to Mount Sinai’s main campus in East Harlem for heart, cancer, spine, transplant, children’s and obstetrics services, to Mt Sinai West (59th and 10th) for orthopedics, epilepsy, intracranial hemorrhage, neonatology, and obstetric services, or to Mt Sinai St. Lukes (Amsterdam and 114th) for trauma and heart services.
- Considering traffic and transportation challenges in the city, this plan reduces our access to care.
- This plan, therefore, does not implement best practices. It makes it harder for patients to access care and harder for their support system and caregivers to participate in their care.
- Loss of the Maternity Unit Still Not Remedied
- Mount Sinai’s CON does not address the community’s often repeated concern about the previous closing of the obstetric unit
- When Beth Israel’s L&D unit closed, NYC lost a high-quality maternity unit with a strong OB-midwifery team model.
- Mount Sinai’s plan for the new facility does nothing to address this significant loss to the community.
- The PHHPC should consider requiring Mount Sinai to establish a birthing center in or adjacent to the new facility.
- Loss of Emergency Department and In-patient beds
- In total, this plan results in the loss of 511 hospital beds, including 473 licensed acute-care beds.
- In particular, we are concerned about the loss of emergency department (ED) beds. Mount Sinai says that there will be enough beds in the new facility to accommodate the needs of the community, but their assumptions are flawed.
- Mount Sinai’s justification for downsizing the ED is that patient census numbers are declining in the area and that there are other hospitals in lower Manhattan that can absorb patients.
- Claim of Census Numbers Decline: We believe this is an incorrect assumption. New housing developments being built in the area will increase the population. Furthermore, as undocumented people in NYC get health through the NYC Cares program, there will be a growing patient population in Lower Manhattan.
- Regarding Other Hospitals in Lower Manhattan — None of the other hospitals have indicated that they can handle an increase in patient load.
- This is yet another loss of a hospital in Lower Manhattan. When Cabrini and St. Vincent’s closed we were told we could rely on Beth Israel. Now Beth Israel is closing and we are being told we can go to another hospital but with more closures that are becoming increasingly untrue.
So we’ll meet up on Thursday?
I’ll bring the ribbons and pins.
You just come!
Penny Mintz, coordinator
Community Coalition to Save Beth Israel